The following reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.
Last Monday, classes began and school was back in full swing. Only – not so much.
Half of our student body isn’t in Oxford.
Though some sophomores were able to find off-campus housing in time to come back, freshmen remain in their hometowns.
Most of us on the editorial board are upperclassmen, so we’re here in the heartbeat of the campus. But, knowing new students are facing a minimum of a five-week wait for coming to Oxford, we thought we’d offer up some advice.
We know this situation isn’t what you wanted. Starting college online isn’t ideal. It doesn’t feel so long ago to us when it was the summer before starting college, and we were itching to get out of our hometowns and away from our parents.
This pandemic won’t last forever. All this weirdness is temporary, but you can still make the best of it.
The awkwardness of trying to make friends with people who you might only know from class isn’t exclusive to remote schooling – trust us.
Taking that first step of asking somebody new if they would want to get coffee sometime, even if those cups are being sipped on a Zoom call, will be worth it.
Remind yourself that everyone is in the same exact position as you – wanting to make friends but being nervous about getting your number or even saying hello.
Your move doesn’t need to be a private message in a Zoom chat room – there’s plenty of other ways.
On the Class of 2024 Facebook Page, you’ll find tons of posts from people making Snapchat groups, group texts and GroupMe’s. This is a nice way to not only meet a few potential friends, but also to feel like you’re a part of the Miami community, even though you aren’t actually here.
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Even if you’re coming from outside of Ohio, see if there’s other Miami kids near you and try to set up a day to hang out (socially distanced) outside.
If you are looking to connect with people in your classes, study groups are a great way to get in smaller groups. It also takes off some pressure if you’re worried about not having enough to talk about, because you’ll all be focused on getting something done or just getting a better understanding of a subject you know a little about.
The biggest thing to remember is that you need to be an advocate for yourself during this time, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there a little bit.
While this will ultimately fall onto you as students, professors should be making it clear that they’re still available for virtual office hours and should also put some effort into splitting you off into breakout sessions so you can have a boost in accessing smaller-group settings.
You’re a college student now, whether it feels like it or not, so remember to take care of yourself.
If you're struggling with mental health, services are available to you through the school. If you’re feeling the need to reach out and make friends – there’s more ways than one, and you can get creative with it. And, if you’re struggling in a class, email your professor.
You can do this.
Another thing you can do: appreciate the extra time you have a home. That statement will provoke some eye-rolls, especially when we’ve all been quarantining at home for months, but it’s important to remember that there are actually a few benefits.
Your family can be a support system and help you with things they wouldn’t be able to if you were already gone.
You can look at this five-week pushback as a smooth transition into college life. You have all the responsibility of being a college student, but you don’t have to deal with trying to be completely independent just yet.
You can make a few more great memories with your friends from home who you know you’re going to miss like crazy.
You can still sleep in your own bed in your room without worrying about your roommate’s snoring or watch Netflix on your laptop with no headphones.
And hello – home cooked meals! Don’t take these for granted before entering the world of dining halls.
So, yes, this isn’t ideal. But, you’re going to get out of it exactly what you put in.
You’ve got this.
We’ll see you soon.